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I’m not sure what I’ll call this blog post, but I’m sure I’ll think of something profound by the end of it. These past six months I’ve been struck by the Bible’s attitude to sin, which seems to call for us not to focus on defeating sin, but to focus on God, which will in turn, sour the seduction of sin.
Galatians 5: 16-24
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature … if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Romans 6: 11-13
Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus … Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
2 Timothy 2: 22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Romans 12: 2 & 21
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind / Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 13: 12-14
So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature
1 Corinthians 6: 16-18
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Ephesians 5: 18
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit
And so, time after time after time, God is saying through His Word, don’t simply strive not to sin, but seek the Spirit.
Don’t settle for purity, don’t settle for anything less than the fullness of God’s goodness.
Don’t preach morality, tell them of life in the Spirit.
Don’t offer yourselves to sin, offer yourselves to God
Don’t flee only to fail again, flee to God and to His paths!
Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
So what is sin?
Is it bad stuff? Wrong stuff?
Well, yes. But are these verses saying it’s more than that?
That sin is something that is chosen over God, and not alongside him?
That sin is when we exchange the opportunity to fellowship with the Holy Spirit for what our sinful nature wants?
Have we simplified sin to breaking God’s moral code?
What about the bit about the broken relationship with him?
What about the moment where we choose to call an old girlfriend instead of going home to our wives, i.e. when we follow our old self, and do not choose to live in our new, true identity.
What is it not to sin?
By implication of these verses, we’re not simply to not sin, to merely obey God’s moral code.
We are to live in His Spirit, to walk with His Spirit and to clothes ourselves in Christ.
It’s the difference between living and being alive.
See also: Colossians 3, 1 Thessalonians 4